Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Seven Things to Know about Child Poverty in the USA

Map from Community Commons site
"Child poverty costs the US more than $500 billion a year". That's one of the messages from this Community Commons article.

I've posted maps like this on this blog, and the Tutor/Mentor blog, for many years with the goal that many will use this information to support their own involvement in efforts that help kids, families and schools in areas where the map shows help is needed.

I feel that organized, mentor-rich, non-school learning programs can be a strategy to get more people personally involved in combating this problem, while expanding the social capital (network of adults) who help kids overcome obstacles in their lives.

Spend time reading this and  other articles I've posted. Start a study group, a learning circle and a planning group that engages the time, talent and dollars of yourself, and people you know, in building local and global systems of support that help kids move through school and into adult lives and careers.

Monday, January 9, 2017

DATA2GO.NYC - tool for understanding and change-making

This image is from an article I read today about "breathing life into numbers, drawing out the human stories that the data tell, and using those stories to inform dialogue and promote better policies" which has been my goal for almost 20 years.

The story focuses on work by DATA2GO, a New  York City resource.

I've been aggregating links to data-story sites on this concept map and in this section of the Tutor/Mentor web library.

Today I also watched a TED talk about making effective, interesting data-stories. You can view the video here, where it was embedded in a Vialogue, so I and others could add comments.

Without the ability to turn maps into stories, and repeat these stories in a variety of formats, on a daily basis, for months and years, it's impossible to attract the attention and support of all the people who need to be involved in building solutions to poverty, inequality, climate change, etc.

I've been looking for people to help "breath life" into my stories for many years, as well as people who apply these story ideas in cities all over the world.  This could be a student project, a company team project, or the mission of one, or many, organizations.

Over the next four years as political attacks from the right and left dominate traditional and social media attention it is going to be more urgent than ever that people are working together to draw needed attention and resources to people and organizations working to help the disadvantaged, protect the environment, or solve other critically important problems.

Monday, November 28, 2016

Income Inequality in Cities - Using ESRI StoryMap

This image is from an ESRI Storymap titled "Wealth Divides" that you can find at this link.

This demonstrates a growing ability to use story maps to build a greater understanding of how some places are blessed with great wealth while others are less fortunate due to great poverty.

I'll reach out to ESRI, but the next layer of information on maps like this should be borrowed from my own  history of building map overlays that show locations of non-school tutor and/or mentoring programs in different neighborhoods, as part of a strategy intended to draw resources to existing programs while helping new programs start where few or none exist.

Here's a blog article that illustrates how I've been trying to use maps. Imagine what might result if teams of students, volunteers and map-makers were duplicating the Tutor/Mentor Connection's 4-part strategy, and were producing map stories using current StoryMap tools, to draw attention to inequality, violence and other indicators of need, and were drawing resources to organizations working to reduce those inequalities.

That could be happening in every part of the world if a few leaders would step forward to make it happen.

11/30/16 update: Here's a New York Times story about immigration, that uses maps and animation to tell the story in a visual way.

12/20/16 update: Here's another ESRI storymap, this time telling the story of the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL).

1/11/17 update: Story map showing 10 most segregated cities in the US

Friday, November 18, 2016

CPS School Librarians - cut from the budget

This map shows Chicago public schools with librarians and those without.  It's from this article which was written by Anne Li and posted in the South Side Weekly.

I've been using maps for many years to show areas where kids need extra help, such as non-school tutor and mentor programs, due to living in areas of high poverty.  This is just one more example of how kids in affluent areas get greater support and learning opportunities than kids in high poverty, highly segregated areas.

Browse through other articles on this MappingforJustice blog site and see more maps telling this story.

Create your own map story and or blog article and help draw attention to this problem.

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Using data maps to tell stories

This is a screen shot showing an Opportunity Youth map on Policy Link's National Equity Atlas data platform.  I have been listening to webinars for the past year, in which Policy Link shows features on its site and explains how to make your own map.  The archive of today's webinar is here and slides are here

While this map view shows the entire United States, the next image shows a close up view of Phoenix.  The Equity Atlas has data for the 150 largest cities, so a similar map could be created for Chicago, Dallas, NYC, Detroit, etc.

As I watched the webinar my primary concern was "Where is the talent in a city who can create map stories out of this data?" I'd add, "Is there a marketing/PR team, focused on creating on-going map stories that reach people with enough frequency that they begin to respond to what the maps are showing.

Shortly after watching the PolicyLink webinar, I came across this message in my Twitter feed:

The graphic at the left is just one page out of many in this presentation, that helps people in this suburban community better understand a problem that only has a direct affect on a a small percent of the population, but has an indirect impact on the entire community.

I present these two different uses of maps to illustrate the type of data that is available to leaders and community advocates in Chicago and other places, as well as the ways data can be turned into stories.

If you browse past articles on this blog, and the Tutor/Mentor blog, you'll see that I have been creating maps for nearly 20 years, with the goal that people use them to fill poverty neighborhoods of Chicago with high quality, non-school tutoring, mentoring and learning programs, along with other supports, that enable more kids living in these areas to move safely through school and into jobs and adult roles.

I created this concept map to point to many other data mapping platforms that can be used to create story maps. Here's the link.

For this to happen, many people need to be creating story maps, and many others need to be sharing them regularly.  That will require leadership from business, universities, foundations and political leaders.

If I can help you think this through, lets connect.

Monday, October 17, 2016

Divided Nation - Rural vs Urban America

On Saturday, Ann Medlock, of the Giraffe Heroes Project, shared a story on Facebook that prompted me to write this.  The article is titled "How Half Of America Lost Its F**king Mind" and was talking about how so many American's are supporting Donald Trump for President.

I read the article and encourage you to read it too.  If you live in a city, some of the ideas may turn you off, or challenge your thinking. If you live in rural America, or grew up there, you might say, as the author did, "That could be me."

Included in the article was a map showing the 2012 Presidential Election voting, on a county-by county basis.

The red counties on this map represent rural, mostly White, America. The blue counties represent urban America, with much larger populations of people of color. Reading the article I began to look at "TWO Americas" from a "rural-urban" perspective, not just from a "White-Minority" or "Rich-Poor" perspective.

Of course, they are all related.

What's driving the motivation of rural America is a changing economy that has caused factories and jobs to leave smaller cities and rural areas, leaving poverty and a lack of hope in its wake. The article talks about how popular culture (movies, TV, radio, music), coming out of urban Ameria, have helped prepare rural America to accept Trump. One line in the article was, "He's our "asxhxxle"

I did a little more digging today, and visited the web site of Mark Newman  There are several more maps on the site, like the one below. This shows that not all of the Red counties are 100% Republican and not all of the Blue counties are 100% Democratic.  

What this map does not show is the racial mix across America.  The article about rural America voting for Trump does not focus on the race and inequality issues that Black American's have been focusing on, yet it's there.

I recalled another web site that I saw a couple of years ago, with what's called a "Racial Dot Map". I've included a screen shot below, showing the full country.  The map has color coded dots showing where different racial groups are most concentrated.
You will need to open the site and zoom in to get better information from this map, but just by comparing this to the map above, you see two patterns. A large part of the Republican counties East of the Mississippi are high majority White. Cities and urban areas across the country have high minority populations.  However, the areas West of the Mississippi, mostly Republican, have very low population density. This is lack of population density is a different rural America than Appalachia and the US South.   I encourage you to read Newman's article and see how he describes how population density affects the general election vote, as well as the Electoral College vote.

My take-away?

First, the issues of race and poverty in America are complex, and getting consistent attention of people in Red and Blue states will be difficult.  For the past 40 years I have focused on helping urban areas build and sustain non-school support systems for youth living in poverty.  However, I've recognized that there needs to be a parallel group duplicating my efforts, with a focus on rural areas. I recently found an organization called Rural Assembly, who is doing some of this.

Second, the problems facing rural American and its loss of jobs, rising poverty, growing drug abuse and suicide rates is also a wicked problem, that won't be solved by more tutor/mentor programs. It's not a problem I've spent much time thinking about, since the problems I do focus on are far beyond my own area of influence.

However, graphics like this illustrate a path toward possible solutions. It shows how a few of us can reach out to others, and build a network of learners, which grows over time. 

In articles on the Tutor/Mentor blog I focus on learning, complex problems, network building, etc. These do apply to both of the issues this article focuses on.  Getting more people personally engaged in learning about the problems we face, and using their own time, talent and dollars to build solutions, is the one strategy that I keep sharing that can lead to a more connected America focusing on problems, not personalities, and focusing on well-thought-out solutions, not vague promises. 

I hope you'll take a look.